What is Tourette Syndrome? What are the Causes, Symptoms and Treatment?

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes tics. A tic is an unusual movement or sound over which a person has little or no control. tics; may include blinking, coughing, throat clearing, sniffing, facial movements, head movements, and limb movements or unusual sounds. You can find more information below.

What is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes recurrent tics. Tics can include sudden, uncontrollable sounds or muscle jerks. Tourette syndrome symptoms most often begin between the ages of 5 and 10 and usually with mild, simple tics of the face, head, or arms.

Over time, a child may have different tics that may occur more often. In addition, tics can occur in more parts of the body, such as the trunk and legs, and they can make daily life more difficult.

Causes of Tourette’s syndrome

Most cases of Tourette syndrome are caused by a genetic condition. It is an autosomal dominant disease. Autosomal dominant means that both boys and girls are affected, only 1 copy of the faulty gene is needed to have the syndrome. Parents with Tourette’s syndrome have a 50 percent risk of passing the disease on to their children.

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In 1 in 20 children with Tourette’s syndrome, the disorder is not caused by genes. Possible reasons in these cases; problems such as pregnancy, low birth weight, head injury, carbon monoxide poisoning, or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

Who is at risk?

Tourette syndrome affects more boys than girls. Therefore, men are more at risk.

Tourette syndrome symptoms

The most common symptoms are uncontrolled muscle movements. They can appear on the face, neck, shoulders, trunk, or hands. Examples of symptoms include:

  • head movements
  • squinting of the eyes
  • Blinking
  • Shrug
  • Grimace
  • nose twitch
  • Repetitive kicking, leg shaking, scratching, or other movements

Complex tics include:

  • make a kiss gesture
  • squint your eyes
  • Tongue or lip smacking
  • tactile behaviors
  • making rude gestures

Tourette syndrome also includes one or more vocal tics such as:

  • grunting or moaning sounds
  • Bark
  • tongue click
  • Sniffing
  • Hoot
  • saying rude things
  • Throat clearing or coughing
  • squeaking sounds
  • Hissing
  • Spitting
  • whistling sound
  • Echoing sounds or phrases over and over

Tic behaviors vary over time, as well as how often they occur.

Tourette’s syndrome can be different in boys and girls. Men are more likely to have long-term (chronic) tics. Girls are more likely to have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is an anxiety disorder. With OCD, there is a recurring thought, fear, or worry (obsession) that the child is trying to manage through a particular behavior (compulsion) to reduce anxiety.

Related article: All about obsessive compulsive disorder

Not everyone with the faulty gene will have symptoms. If a parent passes the gene on to their child, the child may not have any symptoms. If a girl inherits the gene, she has a 7 in 10 chance of having at least one symptom. If a son inherits the gene, the chance of having at least one symptom is almost certain. (99%)

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The symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome can be confused with other health problems. Therefore, if in doubt, it is always useful to consult a specialist.

How is Tourette syndrome diagnosed?

A child with Tourette’s syndrome is usually diagnosed around age 7. In the first stage; A healthcare practitioner, pediatrician, child psychiatrist, or mental health professional may make a diagnosis based on:

  • The child’s symptoms and health history
  • family health history
  • developmental problems

The doctor may also order the following:

  • monitor the child’s behavior
  • Get a history of the child’s behavior from teachers
  • Assessing the child’s psychological, social and educational status

Tourette’s syndrome treatment

Treatment; This will depend on the child’s symptoms, age, general health, as well as how severe the condition is. Some children may not need treatment. A child with Tourette’s syndrome may be like a normal person at home and in the classroom.

A child may need special classes, psychotherapy, or medication in certain situations, such as :

  • If the tics cause problems with daily function or school
  • If the child has a problem such as OCD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • The child has another emotional or learning problem

A treatment for tics called comprehensive behavioral intervention can help children cope with and reduce tics. If the child has related conditions such as ADHD, OCD, or a mood disorder, they may need medication.

In summary

  • Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder. Boys are affected more than girls.
  • The disease causes repeated tics. These consist of sudden, uncontrolled sounds or muscle movements.
  • Symptoms usually begin between the ages of 5-10.
  • Tourette syndrome can be different in boys and girls. Men are more likely to have long-term (chronic) tics. Girls are more likely to have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Some children may not need treatment. In some cases, a child may need special classes, psychotherapy, or medication.
  • A family with a history of Tourette’s disorder should speak to a geneticist or genetic counselor.
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